‘The nostalgia of young love, school dances and drive-in movies’

Oct 04, 2019
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Ahh... young love! Source: Getty Images

Nostalgia is a nice place to visit. Sometimes we gaze at young people and wonder why we have forgotten what it was like to be so young. I sit there at a coffee shop, saying hello to other older acquaintances, the regulars. I observe the local teenagers, off to their suburban academy of learning.

Yes, the Baby Boomers survived those years somehow. When we were that age, long ago in ancient suburbia, we were forced to endure school dances for every term. Gross. Mini-skirted teenage girls, with sling-back heels and oceans of hair spray. Girls danced with each other, or hid in the female toilets, adorning each other with illicit eye-make up, or touching up our lipstick, hoping for a kiss.

But, no, the kisses did not come those nights. The teacher police also had to attend our high school socials, like a morals committee. Harassed male teachers manned every exit, as the principal and music teacher tried to force us to participate in the ‘Progressive Barn Dance’. We had to be groped by acne clodhopping teen boys our own age. We really fancied the boys in the band, or the seniors in Form 6, which is now Year 12. Futile.

The aforementioned acne boys arrived late, demolished most of the supper of home baked goodies. (Bring a plate.) By the time supper was called, all that was left to munch were a few crumbs of burnt sausage rolls and a cold party pie. The boys ritually spiked the big bowl of fruit juice punch, a must to avoid. Then they proceeded to spend most of the evening aiming to escape into the night, to smoke cigarettes and consume underage alcohol they had stashed in the school gardens or bushes.

This was ancient suburbia. I do not know if teens today have such school dances like that. Yes, we survived. Now we are over 60, we do not have to attend school dances ever again. Praise the Lord!

We moved on past high school. Half my school year ended up dating boys in the football team from our school or the high school 10 minutes away in the next suburb. Not many places to go on dates with boys with wheels, so ancient suburbia had drive-ins for movies and mating purposes. Our suburb boasted two drive-ins nearby, a Hoyts and a Village.

This was a very ancient habit. Most of us were dating our future husbands. My date and I regularly smuggled in a pizza and two cappuccinos into the drive-in. We paid a nominal fee, hooked up a speaker into the car. Show time!

Often there were cartoons, then trailers and advertisements. We viewed the classic films of those days. Assorted nights at the drive-ins showed us some funnies in their choice of movies. Once Is Not Enough was billed with The Hindenburg. Sad to say, the callow youth all honked their car horns when the dirigible went up in flames. Oh, the humanity…

Intermission at the drive-in. We strolled to the restaurant in the dark, at any time of year, where we ordered the worst coffee in town. Then we consumed, in the car, fried dim sims, greasy hamburgers and hot jam donuts. All the young couples were in their cars, windows fogging, hoping to dodge the Russian roulette of our ancient suburbia, not getting pregnant with a shotgun wedding. Or worse, a trip to the unmarried mothers’ home, following which the ensuing babe would be adopted by strangers.

Then we were married in holy nuptials. For many, this was our only way of leaving home, so we would not end up ‘old maids’, with or without fat hips. We had graduated to being young marrieds with double beds, and stopped going to drive-in movies, which have largely disappeared.

Yes, we are now the over-60 Baby Boomers. Do we remember what we survived, our years of ‘growing up’? Are we there yet? Grown up, I mean. Maybe we are forever young, because we survived our life and times in ancient suburbia. This makes us full of cheery energy! More current teenagers saunter past the coffee shop. Nostalgia, a nice place to visit…

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Have you forgotten what it's like to be young? What do you remember about growing up?

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